Technical Bulletin 250
Parallel Records

ISSN: 1097-9654

October 2003

About Technical Bulletin 250

Note on field 936 and the vendor exception

Two items described in this TB have been discontinued:

  1. The use of field 936 to indicate a parallel record was discontinued in mid-2012.
  2. The vendor exception was discontinued previously.

For current information on parallel records, see Bibliographic Formats and Standards, Parallel Records for Language of Cataloging in Chapter 3, “Special Cataloging Guidelines.

Why read this?

To learn about changes to OCLC policy which allow for parallel records within WorldCat by language of cataloging.

Route to

Cataloging and local system or automation staff.

Installation of changes

October 2003

Documentation affected

Parallel Records

Interim policy change for parallel records

Effective immediately, OCLC policy has changed to allow for parallel records within WorldCat by language of cataloging. This policy applies only to online cataloging and not to records contributed via batchload. OCLC will address batchload in the future with the Oracle implementation.

As part of OCLC becoming the leading global library cooperative, it has long been envisioned that WorldCat would need a parallel record structure to display records by language of cataloging. This change in policy allowing parallel records anticipates the implementation of the relational database capabilities that will be possible once Oracle has been fully implemented. However, that implementation is still a few years away. Therefore, the policy change announced in this technical bulletin is being introduced as an interim policy.

OCLC Members Council’s Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group approved this interim policy at their May 2003 meeting.

Definition for language of descriptive cataloging

Language of descriptive cataloging is coded in field 040 (Cataloging Source), subfield ‡b (Language of cataloging) of the OCLC-MARC bibliographic record. If subfield ‡b is not present in a bibliographic record within WorldCat, the language of descriptive cataloging is assumed to be English.

Subfield ‡b is in records created by libraries for which English is not the language of the cataloging agency. The language is indicated by a three-letter language code. See the MARC Code List for Languages for a list of these codes.

040     LGP ‡b cze ‡c LGP
040     FLD ‡b fre ‡c FLD

The language of descriptive cataloging (field 040 subfield ‡b) is not to be confused with the language of the item, which is recorded in the fixed-field element Lang (Language Code) of the OCLC-MARC bibliographic record.

Lang     spa

Description of policy change

Previously, records for the same title, but cataloged in different languages, such as English, Spanish and French, were considered duplicate records.

OCLC will no longer consider these records duplicates, but will consider them parallel records.

Note: Only one record per language of descriptive cataloging will be allowed for each title.

Basis for creating parallel records

When searching within WorldCat, if the matching record is cataloged in a language other than that used by the inputting library, the library may enter a parallel record in its language of descriptive cataloging. When using an existing record for copy cataloging, however, do not change the language of cataloging if upgrading the Master Record unless the code in field 040 subfield ‡b (language of cataloging) does not reflect the language of the record. Vendor records are an exception to this. See the section Exception for vendor records for more information.

A library with Spanish as the language of cataloging, that finds only an English record in WorldCat, may enter a Spanish language record.
A library with English as the language of cataloging, that finds only an Italian record in WorldCat, may enter an English language record.

Use of field 936

In order for records to be clearly marked as parallel records, libraries inputting records online who have identified their record as parallel to an existing record cataloged in another language are asked to add field 936 to link the records. Addition of a 936 field, a locally defined OCLC field that has previously been used for last issue consulted information, will allow OCLC to group parallel records entered into WorldCat together more easily once the Oracle display solution is implemented.

When entering a 936 field to indicate existence of a parallel record, use blank indicator values. Enter the OCLC control number of the parallel record in subfield ‡a preceded by the uppercase letters PR and a space.

If you identify more than one parallel record (such as records in both Spanish and French, with your new record in English), you may enter the OCLC numbers for all the parallel records that you identify, with spaces between them. However, OCLC does not require entry of more than one parallel record number in the 936 field.

One parallel record identified:
936     PR 51191950
Two parallel records identified:
936     PR 45570484 45825482

Updating of the existing WorldCat record with a similar linking field is not necessary.

Note: For an example of a WorldCat record with a 936 field indicating a parallel record, see OCLC #45825482.

Exception for vendor records

Libraries are encouraged to upgrade vendor records contributed in non-English languages instead of considering them parallel records. Vendor records may be identified by the presence of field 938 (Vendor-Specific Ordering Data) and the presence of a vendor symbol in subfield ‡c (Transcribing agency) of field 040. See the Vendor Record Contribution Program Participants List for a current list of vendors and their symbols.

Libraries may change the language of vendor records to the language of the upgrading library when upgrading vendor records to full level. Libraries do receive a credit for upgrading minimal level records. Once a vendor record has been upgraded, the upgrading library symbol appears in subfield ‡d (Modifying agency) of field 040.

Note: For an example of a vendor record that has been upgraded with language of descriptive cataloging changed to English, see OCLC #41873570.

Current OCLC technical bulletins